Dr Nicola Smith

Dr Nicola Smith

Department of Political Science and International Studies
Senior Lecturer in Political Science

Contact details

+44 (0)121 414 7569
+44 (0)121 414 3496
Department of Political Science and International Studies
School of Government and Society
Muirhead Tower
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Nicola Smith is a political economist working on a variety of areas including the intersections between feminist political economy and queer theory; neoliberal discourses of globalization; and the global sex trade.

Feedback and office hours

On Study Leave until 25 April 2016.


  • PhD Political Science (Birmingham)
  • MA Research Methods (Political Science) (Birmingham)


Nicola achieved her PhD here at the University of Birmingham on Ireland's experience of globalisation in 2003 and since then she has published on a variety of issues surrounding globalisation, neo-liberalism and social justice. Among other themes, Nicola's current research explores: the intersections between feminist political economy and queer theory; the nature of 'International Political Economy' and 'Political Science' as disciplinary terrains; the global political economy of commercial sex; and the body in/and global capitalism.

Nicola is currently Senior Tutor for the School of Government and Society and Director of the MA Programme in IPE for POLSIS, and serves on the Humanities and Social Sciences (HASS) Ethics Committee. In 2013 Nicola received the Award for Excellence in Teaching and Supporting Student Learning for the College of Social Sciences and, along with 17 other colleagues from across the University, she was selected for the University’s pilot Emerging Leaders' Programme in 2013-14.

Nicola edits with Adrienne Roberts (University of Manchester) and Juanita Elias (University of Warwick) the new book series on Global Political Economies of Gender and Sexuality for Rowman & Littlefield International. Nicola also regularly blogs at the Feminist Academic Collective.


Postgraduate supervision

I have co/supervised a number of PhD projects through to successful completion and am currently co/supervising the following research projects:

PhD projects

  • Shardia Briscoe-Palmer, Masculinity & HIV 
  • Lindsay Clark, Military Technologies & the Body
  • Corina Filipescu, EU Enlargement & Romania
  • Em Harvey, Queer & Feminist Theory and the Marriage (Same-Sex Couples) Act in the UK 
  • Christian Hernandez, Globalisation and Latin America’s Emergence 
  • Milly Morris, Beauty, Dieting and Body Dissatisfaction in the UK 
  • Hena Singh, Neo-Liberalism and Women's Rights

MRes projects

  • Bethan Irvine, Body Building & Gender Logics
  • Rebecca Ferguson, Exploring LGBTQ+ Students' Experience in Higher Education

I welcome applications from potential PhD students in the following areas:

  • Feminist, Queer, Trans,* Crip and Postcolonial Theories
  • Philosophy of the Body
  • Global Social Justice
  • Global Political Economy
  • Global Ethics
  • Sex Work


Research groups: Gender and Feminist Theory Research Group, International Political Economy

Research and academic interests

  • Global political economy
  • Gender and sexuality
  • Global ethics & social justice
  • Feminist, queer and trans* theory
  • Sexual labour

Current and recent projects

  • Closing the Loop: Bridging the Gap Between the Provision and Implementation of Feedback - Higher Education Academy-funded project (18 month grant, June 2013 to December 2014) with Helen Williams, Hardeep Basra and Bettina Renz (PI).
  • Queer Sexual Economies (book project)
  • Waste: Crisis, Austerity & Social Reproduction (book project, with Dani Tepe & Angus Cameron)

Other activities

Other professional appointments

  • 2013-present: External Examiner (International Relations, PG programmes), University of Bristol
  • 2011-15: External Examiner (Politics, UG programmes), Oxford Brookes University
  • 2009-present: Co-Convenor of the Centre for Sex Work Research and Policy (CSWRP) UK
  • 2006-present: Editorial Associate of the journal 'British Politics'
  • 2007-10: Co-Director (with Donna Lee) of the BISA Working Group on Small States
  • 2005-08: Membership Secretary of the Global Studies Association

Member of the Sex Work Research Hub and the Centre for Sex Work Research and Policy (CSWRP) EU; associate member of the Higher Education Academy.


Authored Books

Smith, N. Showcasing Globalisation?  The Political Economy of the Irish Republic (Manchester University Press), 2005 (paperback & hardback)

Edited Books

M. Laing, K. Pilcher & N. Smith (eds) Queer Sex Work (Routledge), 2015 (hardbook)

Widdows, H. & N. Smith (eds) GlobalSocialJustice (Routledge), 2014 (paperback) and 2011 (hardback)

Cameron, A., J. Dickinson & N. Smith (eds) Body/State (Ashgate), 2013 (hardback)

Journal Special Issues/Sections

Smith, N. & H. Williams (eds) 'Rethinking Assessment and Feedback,' European Political Science, forthcoming [with co-authored introduction]

Smith, N. & D. Lee (eds) ‘Corporeal Capitalism: The Body in International Political Economy’ Global Society, 2015, 29: 1 [with co-authored introduction]

Smith, N. & M. Laing (eds) ‘Working Outside the (Hetero)Norm?  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer Sex Work’, Sexualities, 2012, 15:5 [with co-authored introduction]

Smith, N. & H. Hoffler (eds) ‘Global Social Justice in Theory & Practice’, JournalofGlobalEthics, 2009, 5:2 [with co-authored introduction]

Lee, D. & N. Smith (eds) (2008) ‘Small States in the International Political Economy’, The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 2008, 97:395 [with co-authored introduction]

Journal Articles

H. Williams & N. Smith, 'Feedback: Critiquing Practice, Moving Forward,' European Political Science, forthcoming

N. Smith & D. Lee, ‘What’s Queer About Political Science?’, British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 2015, 17:1 *shortlisted for 2015 Best Article Prize*

C. Hay & N. Smith, ‘The Story of a North-Sea Bubble: The Strange Demise of the Anglo-Liberal Growth Model in the UK and Ireland’, European Political Science Review, 2013, 5:3

Smith, N. ‘Body Issues: The Political Economy of Male Sex Work’, Sexualities, 2012, 15:5

Smith, N. ‘The International Political Economy of Commercial Sex’, Review of International Political Economy, 2011, 18:4

Lee, D. & N. Smith, ‘Small State Discourses in the International Political Economy’, Third World Quarterly, 2010, 31:7

Hay, C. & N. Smith, ‘How Do Policy-Makers Really Understand Globalisation?  The Internal Architecture of Anglophone Globalisation Discourse in Europe’, Public Administration, 2010, 88:4

Smith, N. ‘Global Social Justice – A “Matter of Human Survival”: An Interview with Clare Short’, Journal of Global Ethics, 2009, 5:2

Lee, D. & N. Smith, ‘The Political Economy of Small African States in the WTO’, The Round Table: The Commonwealth Journal of International Affairs, 2008, 97:395 [selected as one of five ‘classic articles’ to celebrate the journal’s Centenary in 2010]

Bates, S. & N. Smith, ‘Understanding Change in Political Analysis: On the Need to Bring Space into Theoretical Positions and Empirical Analyses’, Political Studies Review, 2008, 6:2

Smith, N. & C. Hay, ‘Mapping the Political Discourse of Globalisation and European Integration in the UK and Ireland’, European Journal of Political Research, 2008, 47:3

Smith, N. ‘Mapping Processes of Policy Change in Contemporary European Political Economies: The Irish Case’, British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 2006, 8:4

Hay, C., N. Smith & N. Watson, ‘Beyond Prospective Accountancy: Reassessing the Case for British Membership of the Single European Currency Comparatively’, British Journal of Politics & International Relations, 2006, 8:1

Hay, C. and N. Smith, ‘Horses for Courses?  The Political Discourse of Globalisation and European Integration in the UK and Ireland’, West European Politics, 2005, 28:1

Smith, N., M. Pace & D. Lee, ‘Size Matters: Small States in International Relations’, International Studies Perspectives, 2005,6:3

Smith, N. ‘Deconstructing “Globalisation” in Ireland’, Policy & Politics, 2004, 32:4

Smith, N. ‘The Irish Republic – “A Showpiece of Globalisation”?’, Politics, 2002, 22:3

Book Chapters

N. Smith, ‘Queer Political Economy’ in J. Elias & A. Roberts (eds) The Edward Elgar Handbook of Gender and International Political Economy (Edward Elgar), forthcoming 

N. Smith, ‘(Dis)embodied Methodological in International Political Economy’ in J. Montgomerie (ed) Critical Methods in Political and Cultural Economy (Routledge), forthcoming

N. Smith, ‘The Global Political Economy of Sex Work’ in J. Steans & D. Tepe (eds) Gender and International Relations Handbook (Edward Elgar), forthcoming 

N. Smith, 'Toward a Queer Political Economy of Crisis' in J. True & Aida Hozic (eds) Gender and the Politics of Financial Crisis (Oxford University Press), 2016

N. Smith, ‘Queer In/And Sexual Economies’ in M. Laing, K. Pilcher & N. Smith (eds), Queer Sex Work (Routledge), 2015

N. Smith, M. Laing & K. Pilcher, ‘Being, Doing and Thinking “Queer” in Debates About Commercial Sex’ in M. Laing, K. Pilcher & N. Smith (eds), QueerSexWork (Routledge), 2015

N. Smith, ‘Corporeal Capitalism: Invisible Male Bodies in the Global Sexual Economy’ in A. Cameron, J. Dickinson and N. Smith (eds) Body/State (Ashgate), 2013

A. Cameron, J. Dickinson & N. Smith, ‘Bodies, States and Body-States’ in A. Cameron, J. Dickinson and N. Smith (eds) Body/State (Ashgate), 2013

C. Hay & N. Smith, ‘The Resilience of Anglo-Liberalism in the Absence of Growth: The British and Irish Cases’ in V. Schmidt & M. Thatcher (eds), Resilient Liberalism in Europe’s Political Economy (Cambridge University Press), 2013

H. Widdows & N. Smith, ‘Global Social Justice: An Introduction’ in H. Widdows & N. Smith (eds) Global Social Justice (Routledge), 2011 [reprinted 2014]

H. Widdows & N. Smith ‘Global Social Justice: A Conclusion’ in H. Widdows & N. Smith (eds) Global Social Justice (Routledge), 2011 [reprinted 2014]

Smith, N. ‘Examining Ideas Empirically: The Political Discourse of Globalization in Ireland’ in C. Hay & A. Gofas (eds) The Role of Ideas in Political Analysis: A Portrait of Contemporary Debates (Routledge), 2010

C. Hay, J. Riihelainen, N. Smith & M. Watson, ‘Ireland: the Outlier Inside’ in K. Dyson (ed), TheEuroatTenEuropeanisationPowerandConvergence (Oxford University Press), 2008

Marsh, D., N. Smith and N. Hothi, ‘Globalisation and the State’ in: Colin Hay, Michael Lister and David Marsh (eds) The State: Theories and Issues (Palgrave), 2005


Nicola Smith and Sarah Kingston (2015) Policy-Relevant Report: Statistics on Sex Work in the UK, 7 October 2015, University of Birmingham and Lancaster University


  • Sex work
  • Queer & trans* politics
  • Anti-globalisation

Media experience

  • BBC Five Live (on male escorting in the UK)
  • The Voice of Russia (on students who sell sex)